Friends of JIAS Toronto Campaign
JIAS Toronto creating special fund to sponsor 10 Syrian refugee families

As the only Jewish Canadian organization whose primary mission is to assist refugees and immigrants, JIAS Toronto is here to respond. We respond to the urgent needs of vulnerable populations from around the world who seek a safe and better life in Canada – and we also respond to the wishes of our community here at home.

Normally, our Friends of JIAS Toronto campaign would appeal for your financial support to assist those newcomers most in need: youth immigrants, seniors, Holocaust survivors, single mothers, those suffering the effects of the economy and without jobs to support their families and people who lack health care while awaiting their permanent residency status. And we must continue to meet these needs through our annual Campaign, to support lives of dignity, value and meaning.

However, we have also heard from community members in huge numbers. Again and again, they have implored us to help with the current refugee crisis. We have the mandate, expertise and the moral imperative to act. We have all read the terrible stories and seen the wrenching footage. The conflict in Syria has led to the worst refugee situation in generations. Millions of people have been forced to flee; more than half of them children.

As a community, we can surely relate to the refugee crisis. Our family histories often have their own tales of escape and of lives re-built in a new land. We also know what happens when there is no safe haven. More than that, our tradition teaches us how to treat the stranger for we were once the stranger as well.

Local community members, groups, as well as synagogue congregations across denominations have turned to JIAS Toronto, as the only Jewish Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and pledged funds to help bring these refugees to safety. In the past, JIAS and the Jewish community have responded to other refugee movements. Now, we are challenged to come through again.

With the support of our community members and synagogues, JIAS Toronto will sponsor 10 refugee families in the coming year. Our 2015-2016 Friends of JIAS Toronto campaign has a fundraising goal of $200,000. Twenty-five percent (25%) of any new funds we raise (up to $50,000) will go directly to a special assurance fund for refugees to meet settlement needs not covered by sponsorship (medication, winter clothing, English language tutoring for children, etc.). The rest, your generous donations, will help fund our important ongoing settlement and integration work to help newcomers succeed in and contribute to Canadian society.

The community’s appeal to JIAS Toronto speaks to its confidence in us. It’s a confidence built on years of welcoming and successfully integrating Jewish newcomers, generation after generation. We have been here for so many of your families, and for countless other families that have helped to make this a compassionate and vibrant community. Help us to respond again by clicking the donate button at the top of the page.

With sincerest appreciation for your support,

2015 campaign signatures

Steve Garmaise                                       Janis Roth
Chair, JIAS Toronto Board                      Executive Director

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